News / Africa

UN: Somalia Faces Growing Needs Amid Increasing Challenges

Multimedia

Audio

Marking World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations said Somalia remains one of the neediest countries in the world, but increasing security, operational, and funding challenges have hampered the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance this year in some parts of the country.

U.N. officials in the Kenyan capital paid tribute Thursday to humanitarian aid workers in Somalia, describing them as heroes who risk their lives to deliver aid to millions of Somalis affected by both conflict and natural disasters.

The U.N. Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, says while the humanitarian crisis in Somalia remains one of the worst in the world, the ability of aid workers to access people who need assistance is shrinking.  He says the situation is particularly worrisome in south-central regions, where Somalia's al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab has overwhelming control and influence.  

"Parts of Somalia are very difficult to get to," said Bowden.  "Agencies, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) find it difficult and dangerous to work in parts of Mogadishu, for example.  Aid workers have been targeted."

In the past two years, dozens of aid workers - mostly Somali - have been killed or kidnapped by armed insurgent groups.  Numerous humanitarian organizations, including the U.N.'s World Food Program, have been forced to shut down or suspend operations because of threats and attacks.

Maulid Warfa, a Somali aid worker working for the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, told VOA that even in communities where aid is welcomed, it is not easy to reach needy populations.

"Out of my 18 years of experience in Somalia, I have never had difficulties with the communities as such," said Warfa.  "But often, challenges come from warring groups, warlords, freelance militias, and others we call 'gatekeepers,' who want you to come through them before you get to the most needy people."

This year, the U.N.'s office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also had to contend with reduced humanitarian funding for Somalia, due in part to donor concerns over a U.N. report released earlier this year that accused the World Food Program of diverting up to half the aid for Somalia to corrupt contractors, Islamist extremists, and local U.N. workers.

Bowden says U.N. agencies are working to develop and implement new and better ways of providing humanitarian assistance in Somalia.

"We are putting more emphasis on employment generation," said Bowden.  "We have also introduced new mechanisms of greater accountability and transparency about how aid is given.  I hope that next year, we can address need more effectively than we have done this year, both in terms of improving access and in terms of the financial support we get for humanitarian assistance."

The United Nations says despite challenges, aid workers delivered food to 340,000 people in Mogadishu and nearly two million others throughout Somalia in the first six months of this year.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid